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Closing in on the dove hunting season

(Jerry Smyly wrote this column for the Demopolis Times)

It’s hot! It’s August in Bama, enough said. Hopefully the extreme heat will be short lived and we can expect slightly better temperatures later this week. This summer hasn’t been too bad overall, sure there have been some bad days, but I’ve seen worse. Unfortunately, as an ol’ timer told me, “this heat gets worth with birthdays!” Well, birthday or no, I’ve about had my fill of summer! Let’s hope September brings some cooler weather, if only slightly.

Despite the heat it is becoming more and more obvious that we’re getting close to the fall hunting seasons. Talks of dove fields, food plots, and setting up stands have taken over the outdoor forums. I myself took part in some food plot prep last weekend, bush-hogging and pushing downed trees out of the plots in preparation for a glyphosate treatment. Numerous vehicles loaded with tractors and ATVs were seen along the highway, presumably getting an early start much like we were. The property in Pickens county where I was working succumbed to the big Feb-March flood this past year as did my own property. Trees and logs that weren’t there last fall are found in odd places, having been moved around by the highwater. My Father-in-law knows this all too well, as he found a nice chunk of oak hiding in some tall weeds. Unfortunately, he found it with the bush-hog!

Heat, biting insects, and unexpected mechanical trouble awaits the outdoorsman at every turn when prepping for the hunting season. Many cuss the days of prep, complaining of all the time, energy and cost of fuel. As I have gotten older, and perhaps a little wiser, I’ve come to enjoy all of the work and planning that goes into making a successful hunting season. I have to enjoy it; it’s partly how I make a living! I’m a biologist, conservationist, and hunter. I enjoy the work as much as I do the hunt. There is great reward in seeing the wildlife, and thus your hunting, benefit from the improvements you’ve carefully planned and implemented.

I know it’s hot and often the work is tough; however, I’d like to encourage everyone to slow down, involve the family (if only briefly) and enjoy the work. It’s good for the mind and the soul.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, August 14 issue of the Demopolis Times.)